First Days in the Valley, October 14 2015 - Mark Rafferty
Climbing Joshua Tree 2015

In Yosemite Valley almost everywhere you look your in awe. If you took a small portion of the valley and placed in anywhere in the U.S. It would be considered as one of the climbing Meccas' of rock climbing. Taking that small piece and multiplying it by over a thousand and that's Yosemite Valley. As soon as I stepped into the valley I was extremely intimidated and overwhelmed my the largeness of these walls. Normally when looking at a multi pitch climb your able to scope out the lines, but here the walls are so massive that you need to be literally in front of the route in order to find your way without a guide book or anything. Yesterday was more of a boulder day. Once I got ready the crew and I (Dakota's friends + me) plan to meet in the meadow talk to climbers and figure out what we want to do from there. I first headed to the store to fill up on some more food and went to see if any spots were open in camp 4. Apparently I was 15 minutes late to getting a spot. In the meadow everyone has thier pads layed out like beach towels on the sand. Except instead of looking at the waves we are looking at the climbers on El Cap. We stayed there for quite some time til some of Dakota's friends decided to go Boulder in the Cathedral area. Hopped on a V0 to warm up then hopped onto a hard V2. The guys worked on this V7 called the king which has a mantle top out about 15 feet up. My first highball Boulder I've tried. Not being well familiar with bouldering Yosemite's boulders are growing on me to really love that different form of climbing.

Today I met up with Jake and Kellie another couple traveling in thier van from Arizona. They have traveled all throughout Canada and the west coast and are planned to be here in the valley for the rest of the month! We went to Chapel Wall and hopped on a few 5.10 cracks. In the picture below we did both cracks. The left variation is a 5.10b and the left setting at a 5.10d. What was cool about these was that the hand jams were killer and leading up to a roof traverse that was pretty dicey. The roof had a great hand size crack but had no feet. So it made you really trust your jams. According to Jake and Kellie this was one of the valley's harder 5.10s. Which made me feel good cuz I felt pretty good on both. Besides the fact that my arms were a little pumped from the previous day. As we finished with the two 10s, Jake wanted to hop on a 5.12c route called "Drive By Shooting." He crushed it. Along with another couple Hannah and Jeff who led the route as well. Getting back to Dakota's place, Dakota and Jake were racking up/ organizing gear for El Cap. Tomorrow they only plan to get to the El Cap tower just to get a taste of what's in store for the push in the next couple weeks.